Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

Outstanding Seniors Honored with SOE Awards [05/02/2017]


Seven Baylor School of Education seniors were honored at the Senior Recognition Banquet on April 20 at McLane Stadium. Dr. George Kazanas, superintendent of Midway ISD, spoke to the group of seniors, faculty, mentor teachers and family members, welcoming the seniors to the teaching profession and offering encouragement for their future careers.

EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award

Darren Chai of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was named the 2017 EDICUT Pre-service Educator of the Year. Also known as “The Dean’s Award,” the honor is presented at each private university education program in Texas by the Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (EDICUT).

Amy Johnson, Chai’s mentor teacher at Midway Middle School, described him as a blessing to education. “He expected the best from himself and his students,” Johnson said. “His students excelled under his guidance.”

“I teach not only because every child deserves an education,” Chai said, “but also because it is a journey that we undertake to stimulate our curiosity, to embolden continuous learning, and to ultimately empower us with the knowledge and virtues to better our society.”

Midway Middle School Principal Dr. Herb Cox said, “Darren has been so good at building relationships with our students this year. They are going to be so sad when he leaves.”

Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education

Branda Greening of Houston, Texas, received the 2017 Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education Award.

“I love being able to discuss the world and help students make something of it,” Greening said. “I love to present a diverse curriculum to them and break down modern stereotypical problems we face today.”

Greening has been on Dean’s List her entire career at Baylor and has been a student leader for BU Missions. She served her teaching internship at Cesar Chavez Middle School.

Dr. Lakia Scott, assistant professor of Curriculum & Instruction, said, “Branda’s passion for educating and empowering students is unparalleled, and she exemplifies what we seek to do in our teacher education program: to make impact across local and global contexts.”

Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education

Kelsey Jones of Cypress, Texas, received the 2017 Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education.

“Teaching children is my passion, and I am called to do so,” Jones said. “I hope to inspire my future students to be life-long learners.”

Jones’ intern supervisor, Sheila Gloer, senior lecturer in Curriculum & Instruction said Kelsey has grown and developed as a model teacher during this senior year. “She has worked with a wide range of students with diverse and challenging needs,” Gloer said.

Jones was a teaching intern at Mountainview Elementary this year. During the fall semester, Jones participated in the Interns in England study-abroad program the School of Education offers in London.

Jones is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and has been on Dean’s List for all eight of her semesters at Baylor.

Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education

Loren Losli of Portland, Oregon, a middle grades science education major, was honored as the 2017 Outstanding Student in Middle School Education.

“I don’t think there’s a better feeling than hearing the words ‘You’ve made a difference in my life’ from a student,” Losli said. “These words from my students are what makes teaching worth it for me.”

Losli’s intern supervisor, Erin Dixon, visiting lecturer in science education, had nothing but wonderful things to say about Losli as a teacher. “Loren creates engaging lessons that keep students’ attention by effectively timing the activities,” she said. “Her lessons consist of many hands-on activities with connections to real-world applications and students’ interests.”

During her time at Baylor, Losli has been a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, Order of Omega, National Council for the Social Studies, and Baylor Buddies. She was a teaching intern at Cesar Chavez Middle School.

M. L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education

Rebecca Crutchfield of Coppell, Texas, received the 2016 M. L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education.

Julibeth Moore, Crutchfield’s mentor teacher at Midway High School, noted that, even though Crutchfield is a first-semester teaching intern scheduled to graduate in December, she is an outstanding novice science teacher. “She has shown time and again that she is knowledgeable and comfortable with the content taught in PreAP Biology and AP Environmental Science,” Moore said.

Crutchfield said, “I love teaching because every day, I get the opportunity to positively impact my students’ lives in huge ways.”

Crutchfield is a member of Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Delta Pi.

“What is most refreshing about Rebecca is her willingness to serve in various capacities within the classroom,” Moore said. “She is not afraid to jump in and teach difficult content.”

Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Program

Special Education major Janessa Holles of Sheldon, Iowa, received the 2017 Award for Outstanding Student in Early Childhood-12 Education.

“I want to be a special education teacher to empower my students to know they are valuable,” Holles said. “I want them to be able to learn, achieve, and be successful, confident and joyful in who they are.”

Kandy Moore, Holles’ intern supervisor, noted how excellent Holles is at translating what is shared in the university classroom into her own classroom. “Janessa is a natural teacher who effortlessly connects with everyone,” Moore said.

Holles has volunteered for the Special Olympics all four years at Baylor and was a member of her Freshman Class Council. She was a teaching intern at Waco High School and South Bosque Elementary.

Award for Outstanding Student with Minor in Education

Jessica Hagen, a Health Science Studies major and Science Education minor from Belton, Texas, was named the 2017 Outstanding Student with a Minor in Education.

“I love teaching, because I get to be a part of these students’ lives daily and therefore have the opportunity to encourage them and challenge them each day in ways they may not be encouraged or challenged by anyone else,” Hagen said. “Every day I get the chance to show Jesus’ love to the students who may not see it anywhere else.”

During her time at Baylor, Hagen has been a member of the Club Tennis team and Club Soccer team. She was also a Community Leader at South Russell in the School of Education’s Living-Learning Center.

“Jessica is an excellent science teacher and an exceptional young lady,” said Dr. Madelon McCall, clinical assistant professor in the Curriculum & Instruction Department. “She is very involved with middle and high school students, not only as a teaching intern at Midway High School, but also as a leader in her church and community.”

—By Lana Baugh

For more news from Baylor School of Education, visit the Instant Impact home page.


Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.








Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.